Worker voice with a gender lens: New opportunities to increase inclusion and equity in supply chains
From: February 13, 2023
To February 13, 2023
Anne McPhersonVice President, Global Communications [email protected]
Worker voice tools — or the mechanisms that allow workers to share their needs and experiences in the workplace with the goal of informing better policies, practices, and business decisions, is an increasingly powerful tool in the hands of employers. Yet, many current worker voice surveys deployed in global supply chains have a blind spot – they are almost always missing a specific gender dimension.
This oversight has big ramifications in the type of data collected. Women and male workers face different sets of challenges at work. Thus, better understanding how gender plays a role can offer new lenses for suppliers that wish to examine seemingly intractable well-being and performance issues in the workplace. Specifically asking women workers about their needs can offer powerful insights on health and safety outcomes, equity and inclusion, and what it takes to attract and retain female talent.
The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), in partnership with 7 global brands (largely apparel and footwear), has been exploring this theme for the past 12 months. We have recently developed and deployed a novel worker voice survey to solicit gender insights from women and, when relevant, male workers.
The session will introduce the Gender Equity Worker Voice tool and explore the following questions: Why do worker surveys need to be gender inclusive? What does it mean to develop women-centric questions and how should you go about doing it? Presenters will also share a few best practices to follow when co-creating inclusive questions and discuss how they leveraged participation from brands, factories, and, principally, women workers in developing the tool.
To illustrate the journey of the tool, we will also share the results of the Worker Voice pilot undertaken in three countries in late 2022: China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. We will facilitate a conversation with the audience about the value that gender-targeted data can bring to suppliers that want to improve their programs, make action more inclusive, and ultimately reap results in their bottom-line performance. We will also open the discussion to the benefits of this work for brands, investors, and ultimately, the women workers themselves.